3 biggest concerns for 49ers with Week 1 just around the corner

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Josh Norman, Buffalo Bills, 49ers
Josh Norman #29 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

No. 1: 49ers cornerback depth could be a major problem

Just like the offensive line, the Niners better hope their trio of starting cornerbacks — Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley and K’Waun Williams — stay as healthy as can be for the duration of 2021.

Because the bulk of the depth behind them is woefully inexperienced.

True, fifth-round rookie corner Deommodore Lenoir flashed during the preseason, allowing just one catch on seven targets while even recording an exhibition interception. But San Francisco needed both Lenoir and fellow rookie Ambry Thomas to develop rapidly, and Thomas wasn’t necessarily equal to that challenge.

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Either way, it would be a lot to expect both Thomas and Lenoir to shoulder a big load in year one.

This essentially explains why the 49ers inked veteran corner Josh Norman to a one-year deal just before the regular season kicked off, pushing both Lenoir and Thomas down the depth chart and adding some veteran experience to a group that is both top-heavy and riddled with injury concerns.

At 33 years old, however, Norman shouldn’t be expected to serve as anything more than a plug-in reserve option in case the Niners lose someone like Verrett for a lengthy period of time.

And if the injuries start to pile up beyond just one player or two, San Francisco’s defensive backfield could become quite the liability.

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